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Immigrant Growth Powering Rust Belt Cities

November 4, 2013
Plain English Version

Maybe what is happening in Washington is less important than what is happening on the ground. Immigrants are remaking the demographic map of America. And it is mostly to the good.

The influx of migrants contributes to the economies of cities across the nation. Immigrants are changing life in rust belt cities.

In cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, immigrants play a bigger role than they do in New York and Los Angeles. Migration also has helped out communities in southeastern Iowa.

Baltimore has been losing people for 60 years. Now, the Census Bureau is reporting an increase in its population. Detroit continues to lose people, but it could be worse. Latino communities in Detroit are actually gaining population.

Between 2000 and 2010, Iowa’s Latino population increased by 84 percent, while the total state population only increased by four percent.

Immigrants open stores and start new businesses. For example, immigrants are 8 percent of Detroit residents and 17 percent of all business owners. In Baltimore, foreign-born are 9 percent of the population and 21 percent of business owners.

Advocates say the federal government is slowing down the way immigrants can help towns and cities. Deportations are hurting business growth. It has gotten worse during the Obama administration.

Experts say immigration is part of the solution to the nation’s economic problems. It will take real immigration reform to realize the full potential.

Source: The National Journal                                                                                              October 29, 1013

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